Youths operating under the Youth Alliance in Social and Economic Development have asked the government to include them in key decision-making positions.
Alliance Chairperson Edward Phiri was speaking in Lilongwe when the youth consortium recently met Presidential Advisor on NGOs, Mabvuto Bamusi.
Phiri, who was accompanied by over 30 young people from different organizations, said they are surprised that young people are being sidelined in all key governing positions.
“We are sidelined in almost each and every governing position, such as in Parastatals boards, and even in Parliament we don’t have youths,” Said Phiri.
Phiri said Malawi as a country cannot continue development if the youths who form the majority of the population are being sidelined.
“…as a country we cannot develop if youths are not being included in the development agenda,” he said.
Phiri asked Bamusi to advise President Arthur Peter Mutharika to ensure that youths with innovative ideas will be considered with soft loans – free of collateral interest – and three months bank statements.
‘’We are also asking you to ask the President to open Presidential Youth Macheza where youths can be going and interact with the President,” Phiri said.
Responding to the youths, Bamusi said Mutharika is committed to uplifting the welfare of youths in the country. He said the government is running various programmes aimed at empowering the youths.
Bamusi gave the example of community colleges which he said is absorbing a lot of youths.
During the interface, Bamusi assured the youths that the President’s door is open any time the youths have concerns. He added that Mutharika has made youths’ empowerment a priority through the development of the Minsters of Labour.
“Government has prioritized youth development through technical education and training,” he said, stressing the focus the government has put on technical skills development centres and the refurbishments made to conventional technical colleges.
“The colleges will not only provide formal training for those with MSCE but also informal training for school dropouts. Every year, over 50,000 young men and women qualify for MSCE, but cannot all access tertiary education. With only seven national technical colleges, we have the least number of people accessing technical and entrepreneurial and vocational training in the SADC region. At present, these colleges can accommodate less than 2,000 students. Seeing this large number of young men and women entering the labour market without any skill is a matter of great concern.”
Bamusi said revitalizing the youth development fund (Yedef) will be much easier once the youths gain necessary vocational skills to run a business.
Mussa said community colleges are a crucial factor for economic development as they are a proven method for alternative pathways to higher education and employability in many developed countries. In the US, community technical colleges are well recognized as building blocks for an employable population because they provide employable skills at affordable costs.
Bamusi promised to give all their concerns to the President so they can be addressed.
Delivering the State of the Nation address on May 5, 2017, on Youth Development and Empowerment, Mutharika said, “With regard to youth development, the government continued to implement initiatives with a view to empowering the youth. In the coming financial year the government, with support from partners, will establish the 51 Jobs for Youth Project. This project will provide entrepreneurship training and startup capital to our youth to venture into businesses. The project has lined up a number of initiatives that will create thousands of jobs for the youth. It is important for me to stress that job creation and youth empowerment are at my heart because the Youth mean everything for the future of this country.”